If someone had told you, back in 1975, that one day there would be not one but TWO entire television networks dedicated to programs about home improvement, and those networks would go on to spawn several million-dollar careers, home accessories empires, and even magazines, you would have said they were crazy. But HGTV is now the third most-watched cable channel, pouring into more than 80% of American households with TVs, and it spawned an entire second channel, the DIY Network. If it feels like everyone is thinking about DIY home improvement projects these days, it’s because they are. Why all the hoopla?
Swinging a hammer, installing a showerhead, putting in a deck – whatever your project, it’s going to be fun. And if you’ve graduated to power tools, nothing beats revving a drill or firing up the belt sander, whether it’s the first time you’re using them or the 50th. Had a bad day at the office? There’s no better way to unload than by chopping an unwanted hedge into submission or sledgehammering a bookshelf that you’re throwing away into tiny pieces to fit in your trash bin. You will be sweaty and dirty and grinning from ear to ear.
Especially if you didn’t grow up wielding tools, you will feel powerful, accomplished, and proud as you learn new skills, wrangle power tools, and admire your finished work. Every day you’ll get to walk by the backsplash you installed or the curtains you hung or the room you painted and say to yourself, “I did that.” (No one ever says to themselves with pride, “I paid some random guy to do that while I sat on my couch.”) Plus, you get to show it off to anyone who comes in the door. You’ll walk just a little taller in life knowing you’ve got some DIY chops.
When you first start, you’ll need to do a lot of self-educating. You’re lucky that there are strangers on the internet teaching any and everything, from painting to tiling to flooring to plumbing, and – for free! – they share videos and detailed instructions about their area of expertise. Even for a diehard fan of books, YouTube videos can make learning hands-on skills much easier.
After you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be hungry for more. There really is no limit to the home improvement skills you can learn from the internet. It’s like free trade school. You might get so good at some of these skills that someday someone else might hire you!
Especially with smaller tasks, well over half the cost is getting a guy just to show up at your house. Let’s say you need a new front door handle and knob. You can buy one for $40, read the enclosed instructions, and install it yourself in half an hour. Or, you can take half a day off from work, wait for the handyman, and then pay him $200 to install the same knob in 20 minutes.
Even for larger jobs, half the cost is going to be labor, not materials. If it’s labor you can do, and you have the time, you can save some serious money by doing the work yourself.
Anyone can write a check to have projects done around the house and if you don’t have free time or energy to tackle them yourself, don’t think twice about hiring a professional. But if you’re willing to take the plunge and start doing some of these things yourself, you’ll not only save money, you’ll find yourself with a new hobby that will give you a lifetime of fun and gratification.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!